OFFICIALS of the Bureau of Fire Protection in Central Visayas (BFP 7) said they are set to modernize their facilities, acquire equipment and hire new personnel in order to expand their role to more than just firefighting.

Fire Supt. Raul G. Bustaliño, head of BFP 7’s operation division, said Tuesday, March 7, 2023 that they have started to procure state-of-the-art equipment to swiftly respond to fire incidents across the region.

Bustaliño said they have partially received nine new fire trucks as part of their modernization program.

The BFP 7 official made the announcement in line with the celebration of Fire Prevention Month.

Bustaliño said that the development will be implemented through Republic Act (RA) 11589 or the BFP Modernization Act.

Through RA 11589, which was signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte, the BFP will begin a 10-year renovation period and effectively modernize the agency which will allow it to efficiently and effectively address fire-related incidents.

Under the new law, the BFP will also have an expanded role through the creation of special units such as the Special Rescue Force, which will respond to natural and man-made disasters, conduct rescue operations, offer emergency medical care, among others.

Aside from the creation of a Special Rescue Force, Bustaliño said the regional bureau plans to have medical personnel such as nurses and doctors in every fire station.

The expansion will take place in tandem with the hiring of additional BFP personnel, as well as the construction of additional fire stations.

Bustaliño said that there are still three municipalities in Cebu Province that do not have their own fire stations yet. Bustaliño, however, refuse to disclose the names of the three municipalities.

He said that he is hopeful that they can finalize their plan to build fire stations worth P10 million each in these municipalities by next year.

They will also hire more firefighting personnel to achieve the ideal ratio that is one firefighter per 1,000 persons.

The region’s ratio is currently at one firefighter per 2,000 persons.

By 2034, the BFP 7 expects a fully operational modernized fire department to serve the people in various types of disasters, Bustaliño said.